Well, her BIG DAY actually started on Saturday. Rachel's Chilean mother, Mama Lorena was not to be outdone in providing her favorite host daughter with a wonderful birthday celebration. So a few other gringos and I were invited to Rachel's house for her birthday dinner. It was fantastic! We had completos, chips and dip, UNO, and lots of laughs all around. (Fun Fact: lots of Chileans think we call the card game UNO, ONE in the states!)
And no birthday should go without cake and candles, ever.
|22 candles. I counted.|
|No really, Mama Lorena is amazing.|
|Katie, Mama Lorena, and Rachel!|
The events of Rachel's actual birthday started out with us both getting dressed up! (This tradition might have started with me, but it's catching like wildfire!) We met up at the centro to catch our bus for our business class. I gotta say, we both looked dapper. Class went by as usual, and after it was over we left to go back to the centro. After we had stepped into a local tienda to buy some soup for lunch, we started walking towards the feria. As does often happen, Rachel and I got caught up in some delightful conversation, but this time we were interrupted by a Chilean lady saying something along the lines of "Hey you, your bag's open.... I think you got robbed, they ran off." After we came to the sharp realization that Rachel had indeed been robbed, we stopped to take stock of things. From what we gathered, her wallet was gone (and ALSO my packet of soup I'd just bought. I took it personally). Rachel took this surprisingly well, considering her Chilean ID, US military ID, metro card, 9500 pesos, and her debit card were now gone. I was a mixture of impressed since I should have noticed the poor damsel being robbed, angry since it was just unfair, and trying to remember that choice piece of scripture where Jesus says something about "loving your enemies." Silently praying for this depraved soul that preys on helpless gringos we made our way to the feria where I bought Rachel an authentic Chilean chaleco. She's been wanting one since we arrived and now she won't get cold in the terrible South American winter.
We went back to her house, (having purchased more soup) and began preparing lunch and thinking about the rest of the day. Suddenly, Rachel comes into the kitchen holding her wallet! It appears that she put her wallet under some things in her backpack and the thief only took her phone.... and my soup. That being said, this was a huge blessing. (That praying for your enemy stuff really works.) We ate lunch, and hung out until our second class that evening.
This is the part where I tell you we have some amazing friends. We arrived to our second class with a room of balloons and everyone singing Feliz Cumpleaños! Class passed with not too much more action and afterwards a group of us headed out to get some Mexican food, (Rachel's choice).
|¡La reina del día!|
The place we wanted to go to was unfortunately closed, but we ended up at Margarita's. There was a fireplace, 90's music, and huge plates of Mexican cuisine! Just before the food arrived, our friends lavished Rachel with lots of candy, a sketch book, a paint set, a coffee/soup mug, and more candy! Add that to the chaleco, flowers, and shirt she got from other people earlier and she made out like a bandit.
I'm hoping that Rachel feels as lucky as I felt to have spent her birthday here in Chile, and I can only thank her for letting me share in the festivities.
From all of us once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY RACHEL!